Harmonizing Success- Kendal Affiliates Explore Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Kendal Affiliates recently held a Human Resources Gathering to network and learn about the latest HR trends and best recruitment and retention strategies. In addition to The Kendal Corporation Human Resources team, led by Senior VP of Human Resources Wanda Whitted-Smith, four other Kendal Corp team members presented innovative ideas and shared information about approaches that can improve recruitment and foster a culture of retention.

The Gathering provided a valuable opportunity for Affiliates to learn from each other and discuss critical HR-related issues. Brilliantly, the planning committee implemented the theme of music… with the event named “HR Rhythm: Harmonizing Success.” The team went all in with topic titles such as “Jam Session,”” Jukebox Groove,” and “Tuning in to Change- Legal Updates.”

Wanda commented, “The Gathering allowed us to be in person with each other at KCorp’s new space.  That was a special feeling.  We have not been in person since 2019.  We have so many new HR folks since we met in person.  People had only seen each other on Zoom and many were able to meet each other for the first time.” She added, “As I am retiring soon, I was glad to be with my human resources colleagues, some for the first time and, sadly, likely the last time.  Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to laugh, learn and celebrate.”

The Kendal Affiliate Gathering began with a keynote (or “Opening Overture”) by Wanda, concluding with affiliate HR teams in attendance sharing their best strategies and insights that “strike a chord.”

Retention Rhythms

Kendal Corporation “Rockstars” presented three engaging and informative topics, providing valuable takeaways.

  1. Healthcare Staffing- A Chart-Toppin Future

Presented by Lisa Holloway, VP of Health Services.

Health Care Staff HR presentation

Lisa’s presentation was on healthcare workforce recruitment and retention. She stressed the importance of a comprehensive recruitment strategy that includes a unique value proposition, compelling job descriptions, and leveraging the power of technology. She emphasized that recruitment should be seen as an investment rather than a cost and that hiring the right talent is crucial to long-term success.

Lisa delved into the importance of retention strategies for healthcare employees. She suggested that retaining staff is more cost-effective than recruitment, and employers should consider non-financial incentives such as flexible scheduling and opportunities for professional development.

  • Dancing to the Rhythm- Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Inclusion

Presented by Howard Braxton, VP of Marketing and Diane Massey, Director of Outreach & Engagement.

Diane and Howard’s presentation focused on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Pillars that a System-wide committee constructed based on the Values and Practices handbook to demonstrate an intentional commitment to this set of principles. They discussed the significance of a well-crafted statement demonstrating the company’s commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse environment where individuals can feel a sense of belonging. They applauded Affiliates for already supporting various aspects of the DEIB pillars, advising Affiliates to be transparent about their goals and providing some examples of actions they might consider helping achieve them.

They also emphasized that a DEIB commitment cannot be just a statement or words on a document; it must be an ongoing effort involving all community members – staff, residents, vendors, family and friends. Opportunities can include providing training on supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace, listening to employee and resident feedback, and holding leadership accountable.

DEIB presentation
  • Social Symphony- Employer Brand and Social Media

Presented by Jessica Buhler, Director of Communications and Public Relations

employer Brand Presentation

Jessica’s presentation focused on creating a distinct employer brand and job recruitment and retention strategy using social media and LinkedIn. This includes creating intentional content to showcase a positive employee culture, making it easy to apply, reflecting diversity and showcasing benefits.

The group took 10 minutes to research online what their representative Affiliates look like to various candidates who “Google” them and engage in online searching about the organization. Many attendees concluded that their “employer brand” presence could be more robust. Jessica reviewed how Affiliates can address online negative reviews and discussed ways to increase and improve website content. They also discussed ways to showcase a positive culture through unique stories that external media may cover.


The Kendal affiliate communities’ gathering was a successful event that provided valuable insights into the latest recruitment and retention strategies. The event’s key takeaways highlight the importance of staying current on HR trends and investing in areas that can differentiate Kendal in the crowded job market.

As the competition for talent and a committed workforce continues to intensify, all organizations must embrace new approaches to recruitment and retention to attract and retain top talent. The Kendal Affiliate Gathering helped inspire and refresh those in attendance to “Rock On!”

Human Resource group picture at gathering

Twist and Shout Out to The KCorp HR Team-

Wanda Whitted-Smith- Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Kim Dunn- Director, Talent and Employee Engagement

Jeanine Williams- Associate Director, Payroll & HRIS

Angela Rafine- Senior Human Resources Generalist

Let’s Celebrate the HR Gathering Planning Committee-

Megan Fretto – Kendal at Ithaca

Valina Garcia – Kendal on Hudson

Angela Rafine – KCorp

Debbie McCardle – Kendal at Ithaca                                         

Wanda Whitted-Smith – KCorp